“I am a brain Watson, the rest of me is a mere appendix.” ~Sherlock Holmes
And there in lies a story…
Some time a ago, I was licking my wounds after being chastised by a kind old lady, who without mincing her words, as they are wont to at that age, said in a brief statement, “If I wanted that kind of advice, I could get my grandson to look it up in his computer.” Stunned and embarrassed and concerned and red-faced, all I could stammer out of my pursed mouth was, “Yes, but…”
Time has a habit of healing the deep penetrating gashes, only this one remains, open, hideous and painful.
“Meaningful use,” is an ugly term, ugly, because it is smothered between pages of ink that are populated by meaningless words. My head is behind the glow of a screen and yours dear kind old lady behind the back of that screen.
You are looking for answers in my eyes, whether the verdict from my experience and knowledge will carry you through to see your grandson’s wedding and maybe if you are lucky to see your next great-grand child. And all I can see are boxes to click and glossaries to populate. My intent is to make the two pages into three pages so that some central planning unit hidden inside the collective “Borg” interprets “meaningful use” correctly, belted in some faraway place.
And your intent, well dear old lady, is quite plain to see. And as I have continued to spy on your eyes from behind the screen, I can see they are being filled with disgust and loathing. The rise of the frustration is evident as it rises like mercury in the glass container at the touch of heat.
“What happened to your skills boy?” she asks, her words full of pith.
“But…but…” I stammer again.
“Don’t but me. I’ve seen enough. I’ll find myself a real doctor!” She picks up her little green handbag, gathers her wooden shillelagh and without further ado walks out.
Sitting besides the miniature version of Watson, that hums away without a wink or a smile, detached and oblivious, and occasionally lets out a rapid clatter, as the reading arm of its hard drive collects the data, I realize what has happened.
We are no longer the intellectuals, pondering over the complexities of human ills. We are no longer looking into their souls and baring our own weaknesses. We are no longer excited with a brilliant flash of thought that inspires and elevates another. We are no longer the hope of a remarkable innovative change to spur humanity into prodigious health and long life of well being. No! We are no longer…anything but a man or a woman behind the screen punching a keyboard, minimized into triviality. We are no longer the essence of bringing health and joy to humanity. We are losing the “touch” and the hand on the shoulder with a smile of empathy that by in it self confers a 14% placebo effect. No! We are now subject to the impressive guidelines from whence issue the results from the 1 and 0 stored deep inside the tiny light blue box with a glowing bulb impression on it’s shiny lit surface.
Oh what a shame! Yes we are all the same, lest we forget, except for that quintessence of difference of thought, emanating from that tiny speck of humanness called the DNA, inspired by the varied signal from “jumps” caused by the miRNA creating that evolving evolutionary revolution of advancing thought. But for that, we are the same, drab and colorless elements of humanity. And as someone just pointed out to me recently, we are a collection of 10^28 atoms each with its own story to tell, a virtual cavern of mysterious shadowy characters, excitable, emotional, fearful, thoughtful, diligent, intelligent, evaluators, and contemplative with reason. But alas, we are reduced to one. The drab and the mundane. The encoded line!
And therein lies the tale of woe. Everyone, no matter what the diversity or the disparity of the genes, is addressed with the same common broad brush dipped in a dull grey color. The biopsy from this pathology of thought reveals a decadence imposed by the will of force, championed by the many who serve to game and gain. Why not, let this innovation of digitization, which I believe has a great potential, naturally flow, inspire and in so doing become a rites of passage to a better future, rather than a vengeful drumbeat of "meaningful use."
Dear kind old lady,
I am so sorry.
Me of thousands!